Creative Cloud Web Interface

Why I Have to Dump the Adobe Creative Cloud!

Excited by the release of Adobe Creative Suite 6 and the prospect of instant access to new versions of the products it contains as they are released, I jumped on the Creative Cloud subscription soon after it was possible to sign-up. I own a full CS5.5 Master Collection license, so I had the option to upgrade to a normal license for ¥64,500 ($825 as from Japan I am not able to buy from the US store for just $525). With the Creative Cloud discounted down to $30/month for the first year though, it made financial sense to use the subscription model, despite my knee-jerk reaction to want to own a license, and not rent one.

Today, I was looking at my plans for the rest of the year, and noticed that I sail for Antarctica on Nov 10, for the first of three trips that will take me out of Internet reach for a total of six weeks. I wondered what would happen if I could not get online during the first month, and called Adobe Support here in Japan to ask them.

Creative Cloud Web Interface

Creative Cloud Web Interface

It turns out that because I sail on the 10th of November, even if I have internet access on the morning that I leave Ushuaia, if the authentication check to see if I’ve paid my subscription fee is not automatically processed while I’m online, the next time I start Photoshop, or any other Creative Suite application, they will stop working. [UPDATE: I have since received confirmation from Adobe that there is indeed a 7 day grace period before the software stops working.]

Even if I am able to authentic on that morning, I’m actually in Antarctica on Dec 10, when the next renewal will be due, so it the CS6 apps will stop working for the last week of my third expedition. After my chat with Adobe, I read online that some people believe there is a 7 day grace period if you don’t have an Internet connection, which would get me back to dry land on Dec 14, but only if I am able to authenticate on Nov 10. And, that assumes that the Adobe person I spoke with today is wrong, in that he clearly stated that there is no 7 day grace period.

I am the resident photographer on these three expeditions, giving presentations to the group on Color Management, Lightroom, Photoshop and Nik Software, and of course I will be processing some of my own images in Photoshop too. Thankfully I own my license of LR and Nik Software’s plugins, so I’m OK there, but without Photoshop, I’m basically screwed.



I did wonder about this when I signed up, but honestly thought that Adobe would build in some way to pre-authenticate before longer trips, but I was wrong, foolish, a total idiot, to sign up without confirming this. Why can’t I just call Adobe and say “Hey, I’m going away for six weeks — bill me now for the next two months, and push a longer license to my computer before I leave”?

Hell, there isn’t even a way to force the authentication process on that morning before I leave Ushuaia to ensure that I get that month’s use of the software that I would have automatically paid for!

The support engineer’s advice was to buy a full license of Photoshop, the part of the Suite that I cannot live without, and cancel my Creative Cloud subscription. I told him that I also use most of the other suite products too on a regular basis and own a CS5.5 Master Collection license, so we came to the conclusion that my only realistic choice was to cancel my Creative Cloud subscription and upgrade my Master Collection to CS6.

Of course the other option is cancel my Creative Cloud subscription and NOT upgrade to the CS6 Master Collection. My CS5.5 license is still valid after all! The only problem with this, is that as an educator as well as photographer, I really have to present using the current version of the software.

I’m a bit quick of the mark sometimes, but I’m generally a prudent business owner when it comes to finances. I calculated that based on an 18 month upgrade schedule, which is what Adobe seems to be on, I would pay the discounted ¥3,000 for 12 months (¥36,000) and the full price of ¥5,000 for a further six months (¥30,000), a total of ¥66,000, by the time a CS7 or whatever was released. This is like $25 more than the price to upgrade my Master Collection, and I’d have the benefit of rolling upgrades, so it was going to be a win/win situation.


So far I’ve paid three installments of ¥3,000 in subscription fees. If I cancel that subscription right now and upgrade, I’ll have paid ¥73,500 to be essentially where I would have been three months ago had I simply upgraded and bought my license, not the subscription. This isn’t a huge amount of money but I resent paying that difference for such a stupid reason as a flawed subscription model.

My other options are to hope that the request I made today to ensure that this functionality get’s built into the system before I leave for Antarctica, but while waiting I’ll pay another ¥9,000 in subscription fees, and I honestly don’t think that will happen, at least not in the next three months, so I’ll end up upgrading my CS5.5 license anyway, taking the final price of the CS6 Master Collection to ¥82,500. Sheesh!

I have to make up my mind over the next couple of weeks before my next subscription payment, but I’m pretty sure my only realistic option is to cut my losses, dump the cloud, and go back to the original license model. Of course then what will happen is Adobe will fix the subscription model, and I’ll be stuck with my full license, and no rolling updates, cursing Adobe again until CS7 comes out. 🙁

Don’t get me wrong, I love Adobe products, and don’t like to feel this way, let alone air these negative views publicly, but Adobe’s handling of this relatively foreseeable and not uncommon use case is just not right. I hope someone from Adobe reads this and puts the gears in motion to fix this. Unfortunately, unless I get an email in the next week or so with good news, it will probably be too late for me.

June 20, 2013 – UPDATE: Adobe have just released their Creative Cloud, the next generation of the Creative Suite, and they have built in a grace period of up to 99 days before you need an Internet connect! Read more about this in my follow up post – Why I’m Back in Love with Adobe and the Creative Cloud!

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Martin Bailey
Martin Bailey is a nature and wildlife photographer and educator based in Tokyo. He's a pioneering Podcaster and blogger, and an X-Rite Coloratti member.
  • Martin Bailey
    Posted at 10:42h, 24 July Reply

    No problem Sunny!

    I believe to get the best performance from the 1D X, you have to have UDMA 7 cards, so I bought the SanDisk 128GB CF card here:

    I haven’t tried doing any scientific speed tests or anything, but I also use a 64GB SanDisk UDMA 6 card in the 1D X, and don’t really notice a drop in write speed.


  • Heather
    Posted at 23:45h, 24 July Reply

    Do you really, really need to be demonstrating the latest and greatest version of Photoshop? I would have thought most of what many photographers need in PS is available in older versions – and I’d be willing to bet that most of those on the tour will not have updated to CS6. I stopped my tech mag subscriptions purely because they always did how-tos on software I didn’t have, showcasing features I couldn’t access.

    I have a copy of CS3, and I don’t even use all the features in that, if I’m honest. I certainly can’t afford to update to more recent versions of Photoshop, and since I don’t feel I’m missing anything by not upgrading I can spend my cash on better lenses instead!

    • Martin Bailey
      Posted at 00:48h, 25 July Reply

      I know that you like to stick with your old versions Heather, but in my opinion, if I’m paying to be taught something, I don’t want the teacher turning up with an old version of the software. I don’t think it’s very professional.

      I don’t necessarily teach the new features, but as I’ve stated on G+ too, I do like the newer features like Content Aware Fill and now Move, and Photoshop CS6 is lightening fast. Adobe spent a lot of development dollars improving the performance in this release, and I want to benefit from those improvements too.

      If you are happy with your decision to stick with the old versions that great. Congratulations on being happy with your software!

      • Heather
        Posted at 00:55h, 25 July Reply

        I know we’ve discussed this on G+ now, so I won’t go on and on like a broken record.

        I completely understand your attitude, Martin, and full respect for taking it up with Adobe. I also accept your reasoning in this case.

        Playing devil’s advocate just for a while longer, though, if I were in your position I wouldn’t be expecting to provide my own gear and software to teach stuff.

        I’ll get my coat now. =oD

        • Martin Bailey
          Posted at 01:00h, 25 July Reply

          No need to get your coat Heather! 🙂

          I own my business, so no one else is going to buy my tools for me. Adobe don’t give this stuff away, and they only provide Education discounts to full time teachers, which I’m not, so I’m stuck with the bill.

  • RobertV
    Posted at 00:05h, 25 July Reply

    I agree with Heather.
    If you need the features upgrade. If you want to be demonstrating things we cannot use get Adobe to sponsor you and pay for the license.

    I’d be happy to see any teacher using CS5 features since I’d rather you demonstrate stuff I can do. With your upgrading to CS6 and possibly showing features only in CS6 all you do is upsell US to that version or cause us to fail in our own editing to “your” teachings.

    Stick on CS5.5, don’t upgrade until Adobe give you a free license.

    • Martin Bailey
      Posted at 00:54h, 25 July Reply


      I have never begrudged paying Adobe upgrade fees. They invest a lot of money to make their software better and provide industry changing features that I enjoy using.

      My only complaint is with their failure to be able to cope with a relatively common use case gracefully.

      See my last comment for my thoughts on teaching with the latest version.


  • Dave
    Posted at 00:16h, 25 July Reply

    An Interesting weakness in the model. The subscription does seem to offer good value.

    I think that for many users, online subscription is great. I do photography as a side business; and decided the full photoshop was simply too expensive. However at £14.29 pcm (with a one year committment) in the uk for photoshop the subscription model seems good value. This price compares well to buying then upgrading, and puts the latest version in reach.

    By my maths, assuming i’d upgrade say every 2 years i will be better off subscribing or the first 8 years. (ignoring the time/value of money, which makes renting an even better deal). I have the benefit of being able to move to something different should a photoshop competitor emerge.

    After 8 years, i’d be losing out… But i am sure things will change more than we can imagine by then.

    I hope they find a solution for making this work when offline. A simple option to pay in advance would suffice, just for the odd holiday that coincides with renewal, but when i want to have photoshop available.

    Martin, as the previous commenter said, would it not be better value for your clients if you worked with, say cs2? If you trained in cs2, they would be far more likely to be able to apply what you teach without having to upgrade? We all want the latest, and i guess it is important you can explain how things are different in cs3,4,5,6 etc?

    Keep up the good work!

    • Martin Bailey
      Posted at 00:57h, 25 July Reply

      For sure Dave, subscription makes a lot of sense, and I’d have no problems with the model if it wasn’t for this authentication issue.

  • TimR
    Posted at 00:22h, 25 July Reply

    Another best possible solution: You get a sympathetic Adobe manager who can credit your full suite upgrade price by the amount you have payed for the cloud to date.

    • Martin Bailey
      Posted at 00:58h, 25 July Reply

      That’s a good idea Tim. I think I’ll call in my order and try to get the cost discounted by the amount I’ve paid so far in subscription fees. Thanks!

  • Forrest
    Posted at 00:59h, 25 July Reply

    This is one of the reasons I don’t like the subscription model.

    If I were you, I would upgrade to the normal version of CS6 and dispute the Creative Cloud fees with you credit card company.


    • Martin Bailey
      Posted at 09:41h, 25 July Reply

      I think Adobe will give me a discount based on this issue, but that’s certainly one way to handle this Forrest. Thanks!

  • Maggy
    Posted at 01:34h, 25 July Reply

    What about installing the trial version of CS6? I know you will only get a month out of it, but if you could get away with using your 5.5 version for 2 weeks, it might be an option worth considering.

    • Martin Bailey
      Posted at 09:42h, 25 July Reply

      That’s certainly something to consider Maggy, but this will happen again in February and May next year, as I leave civilization for a few weeks at a time. I’m looking for a permanent solution really.

  • David Burren
    Posted at 08:51h, 25 July Reply

    Martin, I ran into this myself recently.
    My own situation: I have full licences of InDesign CS5 and Photoshop CS5 (in a suite) and Lightroom 4. Because I’m happy using InDesign CS5 for now for my books/etc I bought into the subscription model of just Photoshop CS6 (not the full Creative Cloud). Even over 24 months it’s cheaper than buying a full PS CS6 licence, and I usually only upgrade InDesign every second release. What will happen when CS7 comes around will be an interesting problem.

    I agree the current subscription model is not great, and in fact ir’s worse than you suggested. What if your machine authenticates on October 15, and next tries to authenticate on November 15? Yes the last time this occurred to me I think it DID give me a 7-day grace period (rather than shutting down immediately) but your CS6 would be dead in the water fairly early in your trip.

    As far as I can see, without a way to force re-authentication of the software ANY TRIP LONGER THAN 7 DAYS MAY SEE CS6 SUBSCRIPTIONS FAIL.

    Like you, I use PS CS6 for my own work as well as teaching. In situations like this I’m probably prepared to drop back to CS5 for the remainder of the trip. Most of the things I teach people in PS can be done in CS5 however frustrating it is.

    BTW, have you looked at the other thing which may alleviate the problem, which is to establish network connectivity during your trip? Just for long enough to re-authenticate the CS6 software. While at first blush this seems crazy, if you have your own Iridium phone the cost of that data connection may be lower than the extra software cost.
    Also consider that I understand your 6 weeks is actually 3 back-to-back expeditions separated by two short visits to Ushuaia, where based on previous experience you can probably get WiFi access from the ship without even having to go into town. So your longest time away from the Internet will probably be only 3 weeks (which unfortunately does still leave you with a 2-week risk exposure).

    • Martin Bailey
      Posted at 09:50h, 25 July Reply

      Hi David,

      I checked that the re-authentication happens on the day that you are billed, which will be Nov 10, the day I board the Polar Pioneer, and there is no way to force the software to re-authenticate before I leave the hotel in the morning, so I could be dead in the water by Nov 17, with that 7 day grace period.

      It is three two week voyages, and your suggestion of getting Wifi on the ship is interesting, but I don’t recall how we got Wifi on our last trip. I could figure that out, but I’d still be without CS6 for at least one week from Nov 17 unless I figure something else out.

      I could drop back to CS5.5 for that week, and it wouldn’t be the end of the world, but as this problem won’t go away, with more trips in February and May, I just want a permanent fix, and Adobe’s recommendation right now is cancel my Cloud subscription and upgrade my normal license. 🙁


      • David Burren
        Posted at 10:08h, 25 July Reply

        It is a frustrating model indeed.

        Regarding WiFi in Ushuaia: go out on the top deck and browse for a network, or worst case walk into town and find a cafe.
        BTW November 10 in Japan is November 9 in Argentina, in case that helps. 🙂 But they’re probably billing you on November 10 US-time.

  • Landon
    Posted at 01:20h, 26 July Reply

    I was really curious about this issue, so thanks for the clarification. I don’t *think* it will cause me problems, but good to know what the issue is.

    I am still having Error: 130:11 with Acrobat X with the cloud forcing me to uninstall and reinstall every 30 days. Which is a pain. And Dreamweaver CS6 is way too buggy for use. But other than that the Cloud is working well for me so far.

    • Martin Bailey
      Posted at 09:30h, 26 July Reply

      You’re welcome Landon.

      I had to reinstall Acrobat X recently too, which was a pain, and Dreamweaver crashes on me every few hours, usually when I try to FTP an updated page to a Web site, and the site keeps Dreamweaver waiting for a while. Other than that, I’m happy enough. Oh, and the fact that I have to go back to a standard license of course! 🙂


    • Eric Wilde
      Posted at 05:01h, 14 August Reply

      Landon, please drop me a private email with your contact info. I want to see what is causing the 130:11 problem and if we can fix it.

      My email address is


  • Balbo
    Posted at 17:28h, 11 August Reply

    Hi Martin,

    This might sounds like a silly question, but I am living in Tokyo as well and considering subscribing to the creative clouds (either online or from the prepaid cards they sell in Yodobashi and co) but I am wondering wether or not I will be able to select a different language than Japanese at the install if I do so… Thanks in advance for your advice.


    • Martin Bailey
      Posted at 19:52h, 11 August Reply

      Hi Balbo,

      I believe you select the language when you subscribe, not during the install, but sure, you can select English, even if you subscribe in Japan.

      Hope this helps!


    • Eric Wilde
      Posted at 04:59h, 14 August Reply


      I’m Eric Wilde, product manager at Adobe for the licensing solution used in the Creative Cloud. I’m writing up a full response to this post; but, in the meantime can answer this question:

      The language of the Adobe product will match the language of the OS. Set your Mac for Japanese or English or French or whatever and the Adobe Application Manager will download and install in that language. Apart from a specific offering in Europe, Creative Cloud is multilingual.

      You can set the language to download and install in the Adobe Application Manager to be different than your OS setting as well. Select the drop down menu next to the login name to get to the settings dialog.

      • Martin Bailey
        Posted at 11:08h, 14 August Reply

        Thanks very much for that clarification Eric!


  • Eric Wilde
    Posted at 05:10h, 14 August Reply


    I work at Adobe as a product manager. One of my responsibilities is the licensing solution used in Creative Cloud subscriptions.

    Someone in customer support will follow up with you very shortly, or may already have done so by the time I post this response. We can definitely find a way to address this issue satisfactorily without you having to cancel your subscription and still use the software as you travel.

    While coming up with a short term solution specifically for you is good, what we really have here is a flaw in the subscription design. This is the second time since May 11th, when Creative Cloud went live, that this type of issue arose from a customer. Who knows how many customers have run into this problem without escalating it to Adobe so that we could hear about it? Two times in three months is enough to recognize and try to fix the flaw.

    While we work through a solution, I would dearly love to run that solution past you and get your feedback on whether or not it would work for you. Do you mind sending me a private message with your contact information so that I can let you know our thoughts on addressing this problem long term?

    My contact info is


    • Martin Bailey
      Posted at 11:21h, 14 August Reply

      Thanks so much for taking the time to reply here Eric, and for your offer to make this situation workable during my excursions away from the connected world.

      I did receive an email from your customer support team this morning, and am certainly ready to work with you on a solution. I resisted canceling my Creative Cloud subscription by the 10th this month, hoping that something would be done, so I’m really pleased that you are taking this issue seriously.

      I’ll drop you a line after this, so that you have my contact details too.


      • Phil
        Posted at 07:01h, 01 September Reply


        Did Adobe ever come up with a fix for this? I’m evaluating Adobe’s CC offering.

        Of course I’m also busy trying to get my old US bank accounts back online so I can avoid paying the extortionate 20% adobe premium for being in the UK – and that’s before accounting for sales tax! Even Adobe’s own reps essentially shrug and advise you to order from the US if you are able to as there is “no explainable or valid reason” for the price differential. Charming.


        • Martin Bailey
          Posted at 18:23h, 01 September Reply

          Hi Phil,

          I heard that there were fix proposals being made and something will happen, but I don’t know when it will arrive.

          That price difference was reduced quite a lot from CS6, but I totally understand – it’s a big enough difference to still try to work around.

          Good luck!


  • Osama Al Ali
    Posted at 13:51h, 31 August Reply

    I know that adobe sells 3 months and 1 year prepaid packages. Will those act the same ?

    It is the same problem for me. I travel a lot and it is not always that I have an Internet Connection.

    • Martin Bailey
      Posted at 14:02h, 31 August Reply

      Hi Osama,

      I’m not sure if the 3 month packages need to check-in periodically. Maybe you could call Adobe to check before buying?

      Good luck!


  • alexanderino
    Posted at 12:40h, 08 May Reply

    This is the inevitable outcome of a company treating its paying customers as untrustworthy, potential criminals. Their monopolistic position and greed have overcome common sense and better judgement, as showcased by their recent decision to move Creative Suite into the subscription-only domain.

    Thank you for sharing this anecdote. It’s most informative and insightful.

  • Scott Lawrence
    Posted at 17:11h, 23 May Reply

    My old card just expired and it’s given me a 29 (30?) day grace period as a result, so maybe they’ve changed things now

    • Martin Bailey
      Posted at 18:54h, 23 May Reply

      Hi Scott,

      Last week while traveling in Namibia I went down to day zero of a seven day grace period, so if the changes are now in place, they’ve been made this week. BUT, I’ve just been communicating with Adobe and can confirm that changes are to come. I’ll be updating folks via the blog, probably next week, as I don’t get home until the weekend.


  • Thunder
    Posted at 08:47h, 07 November Reply

    It’s irritating to read all these “helpful” comments — “why don’t you this, why don’t you that, is it really that important to use the latest software?”

    So, realizing that I am re-starting this issue a year late in the game ….

    Duuuuh, folks, plainly most of you do not travel and sit happily working away with your home or office internet connection. No problem for you guys, for sure.

    But you don’t have the credentials to chip in with feeble suggestions that imply or state that it is Martin who is creating an artificial issue.

    It IS Adobe that has caused problems for people who must travel frequently in their line of work. Believe it or not, folks, there are more places in the world while traveling that present connectivity impossibilities than there are sure-fire connections.

    Connectivity and “cloud” — still a wild world outside of major world cities.

    It is ADOBE which has created a model for years, even before the Cloud, that imposes impossible to work out hardships on working professionals who go back and forth across continents in their work for all of the Adobe product line.

    Plus, the way Adobe sticks it to customers outside of the USA in pricing is LUDICROUS.

    I don’t see evidence that Adobe management cares for the clients and this goes back 6 or 7 years.

  • Martin Bailey
    Posted at 09:18h, 07 November Reply

    A year ago I felt the same as you Thunder, with regards to the problems this caused for traveling photographers. With Creative Cloud though, they’ve removed the problem, unless you are going to be on the road for more than three months. See here:

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